18 November 2018


Savings mount and bills slashed... going Green

by: Kgomotso Mokgatle   date: 29 june 2018

Energy saving continues to be top on the agenda of the world and South Africa is no exception.
This because of a worldwide awakening on energy conservation and considering renewable energy, which is said to be reducing the amount of fuel needed to generate electricity. 

Renewable energy also reduces the amount of greenhouse gases as well as other air pollution emitted as a result. Electricity from renewable resources such as solar, geothermal and wind generally does not contribute to climate change or local air pollution since no fuels are combusted.

Considering this aspect, Bokone Bophirima’s Department of Public Works and Roads has marked a huge saving on its side since embarking on a strategy to reduce energy usage in all government buildings.

This process started at the Old Government Complex with the installation and replacement of 20 timers, 500 light emitting diodes (LED), light fittings and 500 ceiling boards.

New lights are said to not only save energy, but also reduce maintenance costs. 
One LED light bulb is equivalent to 18 Watts, which is 38 Watts less than the old fluorescent bulbs previously used.

Lighting in the complex has been automated to switch on from 6am until 8pm everyday.
The Chief Electrical Engineer, Enslin Naude, said the department previously spent on average R150 000 monthly during the 2016/17 financial year on electricity for the Old Parliament Complex alone. 

But energy saving efforts are paying back. “By end of February 2018 the electrical bill read R104 000. This marks a 31 percent decrease and 32 000 kilowatts per hour (kWh) energy savings compared to February 2017,” he said. 

According to Naude, total savings for financial year 2017/18 amounts to R460 000 and energy savings of 384 000 kWh were registered. The department is also contemplating applying other energy saving methods, especially in its upcoming building projects. 

The methods include new roof designs and overhangs for all new schools, glazing of windows as well as fenestration in schools, site and building orientation of school, building designs, and installation of solar panels where power is not sufficient or not available.

The department’s in-house architect, Kwesi Fosu-Amoah, said the aim of this green building initiative was to save as much energy as possible, one way of achieving this is utilizing natural light. He emphasized the importance of green buildings, especially in the province since it was geographically rustic. 

“It is important to consider these methods which will help establish more efficient learner and worker friendly environment. For us to achieve this, we will have to consider a thorough study on building orientation as well as building designs which are essential for energy efficiency,” said Fosu-Amoah.
He said this consideration would assist in orientating public buildings towards the northerly direction where there is more sunshine to provide both sunlight in all seasons as well as the necessary heat needed during winter season.
“The northerly sun is important since we are in the southern hemisphere, which is why it is advisable to orientate buildings towards this direction,” he said.

Fosu-Amoah added that through proper orientation, fenestration and facade treatments, Bokone Bophirima would be heading in the right direction towards greener buildings.
The Tlotlang Thuto Secondary School in Bona Bona village in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District has been built with Green-Crete building system consisting of walls made of prefabricated modules, conventional foundations and a roof with insulated ceiling.

This alternative building method, a concept by renowned Professor Hennie Snyman, has very good thermal comfort and is able to control room temperature during both winter and summer.
It is said to have the ability to reduce the amount of energy needed for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.